The Magic of Snow (No Matter How Slushy)

Casey waits for us to gather our gear and ride the lift with himm.It was so fun filming Casey on snow. Prior to last week’s Mammoth  mountain shoot, I hadn’t had the opportunity to shoot Casey Puckett on skis doing what he loves, doing what he’s made to do which is skiing really fast.  

Appointment in Vancouver is about Casey, a four time Olympian making his final bid for a medal in the new sport Skier Cross, which debuts at the 2010 Games.  This newest footage is exactly what the film needed.  And what, as a fan of

 Casey’s, I loved filming the most.

Previously, we had videoed Casey during the off season in Aspen where he’s considered hometown hero (though he’s a Crested Butte native).  There is no doubt in my mind that the Aspen footage is priceless — it’s all about Casey as a dad, a friend, a dude, an athlete rehabing his latest injury, a man with a recipe for killer salsa.

But filming Casey on snow made the documentary CLICK.  


Casey practices his starts.Casey is a worldclass athlete and being on the mountain with him is invigorating. We have tons of footage of him skiing from the last twenty years of Olympics he competed in, the last six years of his Skier Cross tours, and even of his first years on the mountain.  All of this is to say that I’ve seen Casey ski.  A lot.  But not in person. Not with a camera in my hand.  Not knowing that everything we shoot WE own the rights to!!! 

We went nuts.  I had a camera most the time, Seth (producer) had a camera, and our nicest camera was always with Jason Oldak (a super talented Cinematographer that also studied at AFI with Seth and I).  Jason was phenomenal on the snow — he captured gorgeous candid moments with Casey as well as sports-rific, awe-inspiring SLOW-MO shots of skiers zooming at 70mph through gates.  

My favorite footage is super slow mo of Casey working on his starts at the gate. It’s incredibly dramatic material, and it’s not even of Casey on a race day.  You can see his focus, determination, and the heart and soul physically manifesting themselves in every start.  Thank you Casey for being a premiere athlete with your eye glued on Gold.  And thank you Jason for capturing “all that” on film.  

What’d else did we get?

  • Interview with Casey’s (awesomely nice) coach/former competitor Tyler
  • A 2 hour interview with Casey (really wonderful answers from Cas; I’m feeling that with every interview Casey and I trust each other more and more and that soon Casey will build upon his already candid responses and let us (and our camera) in to his brain and heart even more intimately; this kind of honesty is what will make the film because, as Seth and I deeply believe, this film is not just a highlights reel.  It’s a story.  Much more cinema than clips.
  • Casey’s morning rituals and dryland workouts
  • Casey hanging with his roommates over a bowl of cerealand discussing the next year/past year/injuries/etc.
  • Interview with Casey on the chair lift
  • Casey and the U.S. Ski Team running a GS course
  • Casey practicing starts on a newly built gate (this footage is priceless because so much of Casey’s race success is dependent on how great of a start he has; he and Tyler take this train
  • Casey icing his knee
  • Mountain shots; Ski culture beauty shots (think The Hills-style but on a BIG hill)
  • Casey’s confessional.  I gave Casey the camera.  A little direction.  A big smile.  And the advice that I’ll only share with him.  And then left him a lone with the camera.

We got back Friday night exhausted but superbly pleased with the massive amount of footage we attained in less than 72 hours.  

As a bonus, Casey and his ski tech Jonathan needed a place to crash in LA on Saturday.  Of course, I offered my place!  I’d be a terrible documentarian if I didn’t.

A bunch of my friends and I showed the guys the town (Seven Grand, Tony’s, unnamed warehouse dance party). It was really fun to NOT film Casey and instead play billiards with him and crack up at his dance impressions of members of our entourage.  

If the budget allows, our next stop is Mt. Hood in mid-June with Casey.  It’s the U.S. Ski Team’s final Olympic training camp before they head to New Zealand.

The AIV crew and star!

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